An exhibition exploring fashion beyond clothing norms.



The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is actually showcasing the exhibition „IRIS VAN HERPEN. SCULPTING THE SENSES“. Designer Iris van Herpen is considered a pioneer in the use of new technologies and breaks conventional clothing norms with her creations. She combines traditional couture craftsmanship with innovative techniques. Style & the Gang was on site to view the exclusive exhibits.

The exhibition questions the place of the body in space, its relationship to clothing and its surroundings, and its future in a rapidly changing world. On display is a selection of over one hundred haute couture pieces by Iris van Herpen. They are in dialogue with contemporary artworks by artists such as Philip Beesley, the Collectif Mé, Wim Delvoye, Kate MccGwire, Damien Jalet, Kohei Nawa, Casey Curran, Rogan Borwn, Jacques Rougerie and design pieces by Neri Oxman, Ren Ri, Ferruccio Laviani and Tomáš Libertíny. Objects from the natural sciences, such as skeletons and fossils, are also on display and play an important role as a source of inspiration. Detailed mood boards with fabric pieces and accessories offer an insight into the creative work.

The exhibition is presented at the Christine & Stephen A. Schwarzman Galleries and curated by Cloé Pitiot and assistant curator Louise Curtis, with scenography by Studio Nathalie Crinière.

IRIS VAN HERPEN – David Uzochukwu pour Iris van Herpen, Robe Hydrozoa, collection ‚Sensory Seas‘, 2020.
Iris van Herpen – Robe Suminagashi, collection Hypnosis, 2019. Polyuréthane, mylar, tulle. Iris van Herpen, ©Dominique Maître.
IRIS VAN HERPEN – Robe Hydromedusa, collection ‚Sensory Seas‘, 2020. Organza, komon koubou, mylar, tulle. Iris van Herpen, ©Dominique Maître.

Iris van Herpen was born in 1984 and grew up in Wamel, a village in the Netherlands. She always felt connected to nature and practiced classical dance from an early age, the fundamental elements of her relationship with body and clothing. After a formative period with Alexander McQueen and Claudy Jongstra, she founded Maison Iris van Herpen in Amsterdam in 2007. Four years later, she became a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris.

The year 2010 marked a turning point in her career: she presented her first 3D-printed dress from the Crystallization Collection, currently conserved by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. In the manner of the iconic piece made in collaboration with Daniel Widrig and the Materialise company, Iris van Herpen considers fashion as an interdisciplinary language, an intersection of different fields such as art, chemistry, dance, physics, architecture, biology, design and technology.

IRIS VAN HERPEN – Bustier Arachne, collection ‚Meta Morphism‘, 2022. Soie de polyester, mylar, tulle, cristeaux Swarovski, acier inoxydable. Iris van Herpen, ©Dominique Maître.
IRIS VAN HERPEN – en collaboration avec Perry Hall, Robe Fractal Flows, collection Sensory Seas, 2020. Organza de verre, komon koubou, tulle. Iria van Herpen, ©Dominique Maître.

The designer questions traditional notions of haute couture. Aware of the problems of the times, she has been favoring environmentally friendly production methods for several years. Some of her creations are made from recycled plastic or 3D-printed cocoa beans. In 2012, the Groninger Museum dedicated a first major exhibition to her work.

The exhibition, which celebrates the designer’s unique approach, is divided into nine themes and shows the essence of her work, which combines fashion, contemporary art, design and science. The theme of water as the origin of life, which is omnipresent in the designer’s work, plays a central role. In addition, the theme of the skeleton is presented, with the skeleton dress reminiscent of the hybrid skeleton in a work by Japanese artist Heishiro Ishino. The infinity of the cosmos is also taken up in her creative work. The photographic works of artist Kim Keever and images of nebulae encourage visitors to experience the world more holistically.

The exhibition can be seen at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs until April 28, 2024.

Opening hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday and Saturday until 9pm
Sundays until 8pm

Musée des Arts Décoratifs
107, rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris